Basic Batman At It's Best
The Good: I'm late with my review this week, so what can I say that everyone else hasn't already said? Not much, so I'll mostly be reinforcing it. Scott Snyder's story is just superb. The Dealer is an amazing villain without being over-the-top or gimmicky or anything it doesn't need to be. He comes off as almost a one time character without losing any of his epic impact. He's the perfect kind of villain for a 3-issue arc.
The story is done in a nice pace that makes this feel like an episode of B:TAS. Granted, one if B:TAS was made on Adult Swim with no restrictions because this would give B:TAS's target audience mental scaring for the rest of their lives.
And here we get into this story is CREEPY. And it's made creepy without any cheap stunts of excessive gore. Just good old traditional atmosphere and tension.
The crowbar is used to it's full capacity without being showy. They don't linger on the significance on it too long yet it's used to the capacity of a normal crowbar, Snyder relying on the knowledge he gave us and Jock's art to keep the significance high.
The nightmares and hallucinations from the gas last issue are utilized AMAZINGLY. There's one scene that seemed 100% normal due to it being written without any extra hints and using the same subtleties as usual and the crash into nightmare caught me completely off guard in the best way possible.
The Bad: As much as I get that Snyder's trying to define Dick Grayson as Batman without making him overly jovial, I didn't really like the opening inner monologue as much as the other 2 issues. It felt like he was trying just a bit too hard.
The transition from the auction house to the final scene seemed a bit too fast. It makes the story feel a tad rushed.
In Conclusion: 4.5/5
This issue has made me see exactly what it is that makes Scott Snyder and Jock so great on this comic. They do everything perfectly in such a weirdly medium manner. Everything oozes of subtlety, and it clearly keeps itself in check constantly. Nothing is over-the-top or massive or anything. Snyder doesn't rely on spectacle or trying to outdo any other comic, or being larger than life or anything. He keeps things at a very normal and easygoing level of scale and focuses solely on quality. At the same time, he never treats the readers as idiots. It's clear he has a high opinion of the readers and doesn't feel the need to state things outright too much or restate learned information to draw focus. He relies on the reader to remember what we've learned and tie together the subtext. Jock's art also has a minimalist quality to it that doesn't distract the reader from the subtler points of the story, while at the same time drawing our eyeballs to it with it's glorious quality. Everything in this series is so well put together, but it stays within the median lines in terms of scale and drama. And that really works to make this series both creepy and spectacular. This is Detective Comics, Batman's original title, so it's appropriate that it's going back to the basic concepts of what make Batman so great as a factional character. Reminding us all why we got into Batman. It's at the other end of the spectrum when compared to Grant Morrison's 'Batman-as-a-God' storytelling. This is Batman as a man. A detective. Surrounded by the darkness of everyday lives.